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Characterisation and seasonal variations of particles in the atmosphere of rural, urban and industrial areas: Organic compounds

Fabrice Cazier , Paul Genevray , Dorothée Dewaele , Habiba Nouali , Anthony Verdin , Frédéric Ledoux , Adam Hachimi , Lucie Courcot , Sylvain Billet , Saâd Bouhsina , Pirouz Shirali , Guillaume Garçon , Dominique Courcot


Received April 22, 2015,Revised December 22, 2015, Accepted January 22, 2016, Available online March 02, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 45-56

Atmospheric aerosol samples (PM2.5–0.3, i.e., atmospheric particles ranging from 0.3 to 2.5 μm) were collected during two periods: spring–summer 2008 and autumn–winter 2008–2009, using high volume samplers equipped with cascade impactors. Two sites located in the Northern France were compared in this study: a highly industrialised city (Dunkirk) and a rural site (Rubrouck). Physicochemical analysis of particulate matter (PM) was undertaken to propose parameters that could be used to distinguish the various sources and to exhibit seasonal variations but also to provide knowledge of chemical element composition for the interpretation of future toxicological studies. The study showed that PM2.5–0.3 concentration in the atmosphere of the rural area remains stable along the year and was significantly lower than in the urban or industrial ones, for which concentrations increase during winter. High concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins, furans and dioxin like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs), generated by industrial activities, traffic and municipal wastes incineration were detected in the samples. Specific criteria like Carbon Preference Index (CPI) and Combustion PAHs/Total PAHs ratio (CPAHs/TPAHs) were used to identify the possible sources of atmospheric pollution. They revealed that paraffins are mainly emitted by biogenic sources in spring–summer whereas as in the case of PAHs, they have numerous anthropogenic emission sources in autumn-winter (mainly from traffic and domestic heating).

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